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On the farm of course we were very much isolated. We very seldom heard actually what was going on in town at that time not any of the children were even going to high school. But we later heard that they frequently had to talk with us and even lecture courses. And there they were quite prominent I er still remember those as a youth we used to attend the Chautauqua which was held in the on the schoolhouse grounds every afternoon and evening and of course such man as William Jennings Bryan many of your national figures served on these programs speakers Creek restack an apparatchik zero drink that you're describing went there were regular and then Mr. Rigg about it Jack Draeger and he made an opera house at it oh yes he replied. Credit never a good place Cher. Lemme exam.
It's seven through seven misunderstanding. I can't tell you what it was anymore. Did you regard that as a Shakespearean croupier. And they were very good. They played them. Well me along Juliet and that they stayed two days. And then they played Romeo and Juliet. And im. Not bad. Wow dad never cared too much about socialising. He always liked animals and for that reason we never missed a county fair. Oh yeah that was nice. Used to go there and then when there was a great occasion we go to a county fair. Theyd have horse racing. All the side shows because we never went too much for those but we used to see all the animals and the prizes and the baked goods and. Fancy work and. Hoped rock sun.
Quilts handmade everything was handmade. Then they'd have all their jellies and their canned goods on display. That was one of the biggest time of the year. When they'd had the fare. We all like to go to. On the farm. We live very close to animal life especially in spring or early summer. It happened frequently that we came across some of the very young and I remember dad one time brought some small coon home for us all that interested us very much and it gradually led us to the point where not only did we appreciate the animal life as far as pets were concerned but we also enjoyed hunting coon hunting. The boys used to go. They had our dogs trained and then some of the neighbor boys got together with my brothers and then they'd all go on.
Sometimes every night. They really would have a time. Going after the cones and. Course and they'd hunt rabbits but. We used to like. Tame rabbits and we had so many tame rap at home you know that we had in pens. And skunks too they had them for pets. And a lot of pet skunks. If we had a size 10 or 12. They were descended and they were cute. And they're real pets. Good morning and yes. Well that's when I lived in kind we had the big yellow dog about the thaw will begin and we had a black and. Yellow we would call Jack and a black McCall moans. Well Jack a tree a cone you give to bark then you run round circular trees you couldn't come down. Let me go back to the United better known as Black Dog a star
out. Well not cool. We will let Jack fight him let us fight him. Yeah it or we go watch 6 o'clock see all art. Like loan money or big tree. They have a few here that do that yet they talk to one net. He isn't so much an arrest in the Coombe but he likes the music of the hounds. About all I remember of the butchering first in the fall we usually had a sheep but that was so insignificant that it was only a matter of getting a little meat. Meat mostly but then a little bit. Later in the year. Shortly before Christmas time we usually had a couple of hogs that were butchered and that was quite a thing often times that we had as many as four or six. And for this not only dad and the older boys but
oftentimes quite a few of the neighbors would come in and this was quite a chore. You had to kill the animal and then you had to put them in they had the brine and you had. I forget now just what they call it but you had to get the hair off say scald and then scrape the hair and then you had to hang him and actually dress him. And then after all that was done usually the need had to be be cooled. But before it could be properly cut it was. It was quite an experience. Usually at night around that fire and all the activity that went with it and then to see the finished products of all the different types of sausages that were produced. It was one I recall particularly I was late for sht. Another one was. Prattles and there
was a brok Brok worst and all. There were certain types of brain sausage and it was almost unbelievable all the various recipes that they had worked up and the kind of sauces that they prepared in this way. It was really remarkable. Prattles. Everybody like prettily Purnell's is a meat that. Cooked. And ground up. And then you had. PENDLETON. Mick sat on. An edger on spices and salt. It's delicious and you fry it. You still make it. Not as much I don't believe it's a used to but they still make it. I work for a book shop or a writer. We take care of heads liver and no meat and all clean
cut dies no doubt a cabbage will examine the kettle and cook what we put in. Used to make blood put into you know. I've drank blow dried out of a stick a critter to drink the blood warm just like warm milk. Mother used to always bake a bread and we had yeast that you know that you kept alive so to speak to leaven or to raise the bread and it was always my cousin and I lived about a quarter mile apiece and they kept the ease between the two families and whenever mother would want to bake bread I'd have to go down to my ass and get the yeast and bring it up here and vice versa. And I know they would they were real concerned to keep this huge they kept it in a court can and to keep it alive so that was nice and lively so they'd have good bread when they bake bread at home we grew up with. Wine granddad took special delight in making wine from grapes and we never knew of anything else than
simply having a glass of wine occasionally at the table. Prohibition to us was something entirely forme and yet during our time for Bishan it became the vog and I do not know what happened at Napoleon. But there was a town nearby which became quite famous. It was very it was a it. Was the place where they really got good whisky. These these grew very true for. Were not a bit above making a for profit you know most or most of them made it for their own. You should course the. The Lutheran German chapter made beer and wine for themselves for their own use and ever since all that hell but died down and Newburgh area was there
there was too much money in it for sure for a Monday. Then acquired almost a national reputation it was very good it was really good stuff and then they kept back and there Tony from perishing in no water snow drink. And. It was their stuff was worth thinking. We made beer and we made our own beer. Word did we have homemade brew. I got it I got my stuff from the brewery in defiance I knew them from real well and I got my own Hox there by Mart. And whatever need it and I made it you know wash tub you know wash it off heat water go on out of Egypt and then we'd always have 300
bottles a head each. We caught him near the center on the floor. Oh yeah we had so many boys come there every Sunday. And it would ring clear it would predict that oh well it was the best that they could find her on go. We made it like the brewer is me. I even made book beer. Very black market instead of white. It's a dark beard. Yeah I'm not sure. Our community was very much a unit and we were very much surprised later on to learn that the Klu Klux Klan had even tried to make inroads into the community. I personally think that it Bush. Put on for the purpose of gathering in a few shekels for the organizers. I think show they were just trading on hatred for or.
Those days are used to run every 10 years there would be an outbreak somebody would educate hatred for Protestants against Catholics that educate that. And. As a rule our community had been getting along very fine. We never had any church or any real trouble among ourselves until someone on the outside would demand and she very could make a fast buck doing things like that idiotic thing. And I think that if you clutch one of those just to organize for the purpose of cashing in on little hate the world in which we lived was a man's world. Not only was Father's Word and the home law
but when we went to church even the. Women and the men were separated. We're very happy there for that. There were some pioneers who felt that something should be done and that at least some of the women in the area were pioneers in this wonderful movement of suffrage. Well I have to go back a long ways to get that story. I was I didn't know there was any discrimination against women I just had to earn my living and I started work in a law office and then somebody suggested that. I ought to study law because I was so interested in it and not very many schools would admit girl in the lower class. I found that out. But Valparaiso University said come on and so I went. And. But one day we had a lesson on healing. And that was to the effect that a man
passed in Scotland a man might lose his wife with a stick nor larger than his thumb. Well. They all had a good lesson that day. They all want to Greece. They want to debate whether or not a man had a right to be. Why. Should they regulate the size of the stick. And I stand on the front seat clenching my this I like to have Bang dollar heads together. But finally the dean looked down at me and said Sister What do you think do you think a man has a right to be a decent wife. I said Yes I think a man has a right to be wedded to a lot soaked in and I says but the fight generally take place around the house and she's much more familiar with the flat iron a rolling pin I think she's an awful big fool if she lets him. And that was that. But that made her suffer just out of me. So whenever I had a chance from that time on I said a war word for woman
suffrage. And about 1912. I had two children. They started the suffrage campaign in Ohio. And I immediately let them know that I was ready to go. And just a few days after I had written a letter. Women from Dorchester part of Boston Massachusetts came she was Irish and jolly and we took her around and she made speeches and that was fine and well it wasn't very long until. Florence Ellen came and she was in New York University at the time studying law and had been sent out by the college equal suffrage league. So when you run it. All over the county. She drove the horse and buggy. And we'd go to a town and go around deliver letter church first. And try to
set up a meeting for somewhere in the evening we'd have to just find a place that we thought maybe we could get a crowd we didn't know whether anybody would come or not but we'd been telling them. And the most interesting thing that happened was down a little town named Liberty center. We'd been going around. Leaving our literature places and telling them we were going to speak that evening. And there was. Little hotel in the town we were going to go there for supper and there was a young couple nice looking young couple had a medicine show and I don't suppose any of you ever heard of a medicine show. But. They had a medicine show. And they were going to each separate there that night really were sitting on the veranda waiting for the meal to be served and we sat there and this did. The man was kidding is some of these jokes about Woman Suffrage you know after a little while I said all of that old stuff why don't you use our jokes. And he said what are they. Well I
told him I don't remember now except one was they say women don't know enough to vote. Oh man needs denotative tween the eagle and the rooster not me sure you we know that he said. I will use your jokes. He said you can use my platform tonight. Oh it was hot. And they had a platform and they set lane lights and you know they play some music on a banjo or guitar and sing some songs and they would sell their wizard Ohio. Well we had a great big crowd and the paper wrote it up I think was the best publicity we. Were all we just kept on with that. 19 12 19 20. See we finally achieved our goal. But I have been in law office more than 60 years. I
graduated from law school in 1970 and there were very few back of that. This is All Things The pastor used to have a harness shop or had. A better shot Napoleon was Jack Frost harness shop. And. On a winter day when it was unfit for anything else. All the farmers in the neighborhood around the area would collect in the harness shop and boy some of the yarns that were told. I think maybe they were truthful in part but they embroidered on them you know. My grandfather had a drug store and put in for 50 years. And high school girls would gather down in Grandpa's drugstore you know on Saturday night we had the biggest time of all. He always came to town on Saturday night and met your friends and. Walked around on the streets and visited with your neighbors. Now there is no such thing as a Saturday night in a. Small town. We have
our stores open for a few hours on Friday night. But. No other nights in the week. That time. All the stores stayed open on Saturday night till 10 or 12 o'clock. Well I remember as a small boy I'd come downtown here on Saturday evenings course we were a Saturday town ten times every town every all the farmers came to town Saturday evening and you walk down the street. It was all German you'd see a couple stand here with my mates each other would be on Saturday night and they would be conversing in their German Low German course load. Today which you don't hear at all. That its own junk must be asked all the behind behind on the truck beating off one hand on the ball you know and I mean it. One thing that I can remember and in my early days was you know we didn't have
a male or an all electric. We had a pump by hand and we had a trough there and at the barnyard and then there was an IIF trough run to that and then we boys we had to stand there sometimes for hours and pump water for the cattle. You know when they came in from the pasture. And that was well we don't call it fun. You know they say the good old days there was a lot of things there that was nice better than now but something like that you know there was work to do in the First World War there was quite a bit of anti-German around here because largely being a German settlement where there was a lot. And Tiger has them towards the German language things of that kind of course a lot of people have come from Germany. First generation and of course they were always had you know mixed
feelings and so forth. But I was glad to say that in the Second World War we didn't have and I. Was on Terra eliminated Henry County people by probably 95 percent German extraction. And if you recall that the World War One been going on for two years before we became involved there and our German people were pulling strong for German victory. And when we went into this war it was should show Shut that. It refers to almost too fast for them to change their allegiance and it made it very difficult for one day they had to be strong for their sympathies were strong for Germany the next day they
had to be strong for the. Country that they had that they hated. Yesterday U.S. and then lead for reform day the feeling of the so-called English or the American English speaking people. It was. Right high against these people they misunderstood them of course they weren't very tolerant. They had a patriotic leg and. When they sold bonds. The German people didn't quite understand what a Liberty Bond a government bond was was there a good many of them thought they were giving that money to the government and they didn't have it to give. And
the they tried to force them to take more bonds and they felt they could afford and then they brand them wish pro-German for not taking them up bondage. Around here I believe we were all just a hundred percent Americans I was we were Germans talk German but we didn't know what was in Germany. We didn't have a heart there in Germany. We were Americans but they accuse stuff here. And even just my next door neighbor here they painted his barn pro-German. They had a helmet on there a Kaiser William and all that. And then later on he found out who did it and then they wanted him to furnish the pain free. If you only painted and he didn't. He just left it on. Then the lightning struck the barn and it burned later on it was on there for years. The semi was very strong and then there was another Presbyterian minister I just can't
recall his name now. I know I know but I just my memory serves me. There's an insanely good like 100 years old you know I born 16 1863. I've been out of water a day and since then. And well anyway this minister he was speaking some colleagues and he had a German. Class book. And he toured the tour they come here stride it you know in his lecture just. To show contempt for the Germans. Well that kind of feeling that you never get for and its course when one is highlight yet of course people should be careful what they say and do. Now he was an educated man and all that. So we should have had better judgment didn't do anything like. But he did it did it just to show you how strong the lies are
against the German television of course this is strong this is a German community you know we knew very little on the farm except working and we had to work very hard but there is an old proverb that all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. And so. It happened that there was one thing at least that gave an outlet. This was the shits and fast. Set it gently was out of it. Ridgeville that was north of town here for five miles. Yes Musselman scorer's revolution there there used to be something terrific. Or will there be no Germans. Oh my gosh. Everything went to the shirts and vest. It's an old German celebration that they've had for numerous years that originated in Germany I guess they should a target for two days.
And then on a second night to Canaan. Second and third place a crown. And then a celebration the next day when they deliver the target to his. House. And he finishes the drinks and things like that. They run continuously from about 1 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. One thirty two o'clock in the morning and then. Resume the following day at noon and run into the night again. Years ago it had lain Parkland. As a residential area now. Fourteen hundred people would. Consume less truckloads of there. First you have a shrimping business you know. And the one that gets you high school he gets to be kin and the next one gets to be a GM. And now I believe she's genuine. And do you know when I have been after shooting as you would in the world and I. And then after that then the dance and drink.
You eat. And the big time. Last two in the morning. Way back when Dad was about 16. He always told me carry his trombone in a green circle. I asked a question. He formed a band and he's been playing up to the present day. He passed away three years ago and he carried on the band sax. I played clarinet sax. With Bob Bacon which is a chalet doing hammer UFOs a base. For a home. Retired music teacher for a jewel. Place of. A brother Gary plays a trumpet on a lever that Facebook let us cool as a time bomb. Another gaffe in which our town I just he plays the drums piece of.
Green go for this one always has a star on the back. Down through some pages Arkady. Also you guys are. Calling. That. A self portrait of Napoleon Ohio drawn entirely from interviews with people who have called Napoleon their top on this program. One in a series titled The American town a self-portrait was prepared and edited at the University of Michigan by Ralph Johnson
The American town: A self-portrait
Napoleon, Ohio, part 2
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University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, focuses on the town of Napoleon, Ohio. Topics covered inlcude the Miami and Erie Canal; farming methods; hatchery businesses; windmill manufacturing; and the women's suffrage movement. Includes an interview with a 102-year-old woman.
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Historical documentary series drawn from the recollections of senior citizens in a variety of American towns.
Local Communities
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Host: Sears, Ralph
Producer: Johnson, Ralph
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-9-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:45
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Chicago: “The American town: A self-portrait; Napoleon, Ohio, part 2,” 1967-01-26, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 11, 2022,
MLA: “The American town: A self-portrait; Napoleon, Ohio, part 2.” 1967-01-26. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 11, 2022. <>.
APA: The American town: A self-portrait; Napoleon, Ohio, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from